EU: Students compete for EU translation prize

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Fri Nov 28 13:23:16 UTC 2008

Students compete for EU translation prize
Published: Thursday 27 November 2008

Pupils from across the EU will today (27 November) compete for EU-wide
translation prizes in a competition designed to promote the profession
among young people in Europe. The 'Juvenes Translatores' contest , in
its second year, is open to secondary-school students throughout the
bloc's 27 countries. It gives youngsters the opportunity to find out
"what it is like to be a translator", according to European
Commission's translation directorate, which is organising the event.
The EU institutions employ translators and interpreters for all of the
bloc's 23 official languages. Indeed, their language services
collectively absorb 1% of the EU budget, or €1.1bn, every year.

Rising costs mean EU language policy is becoming increasingly
controversial. The present 23 official languages constitute 506
translation and interpreting combinations, a figure which would
increase significantly if Croatia, Serbia and Turkey join the bloc.
But the Commission's recent multilingualism communication, unveiled by
Leonard Orban (the commissioner responsible for the policy) on 18
September, does not touch upon the institutional side of the dossier
(EurActiv 19/10/08)

Indeed, the Commission's translation chief, Karl-Johan Lönnroth, said
earlier this year that the multilingual nature of the EU institutions
was "too politically sensitive" an issue to be dramatically reformed
(EurActiv 25/02/08). Thus, the Union would "just have to cope" with
increased linguistic pressures brought on by future enlargements, he
said, because "no decision-maker would dare to touch the main
principles" of multilingualism policy.

But despite such commitment to a multilingual Europe, English
continues to dominate EU language curricula, a trend which will only
increase in future, according to a Commission-endorsed report
published by Eurydice last week (EurActiv 24/11/08). As for the
contest, the EU executive hopes it will encourage more young Europeans
to consider a career in languages. Describing the feedback from last
year's event as "enthusiastic", it said that for its Greek victor,
"winning the contest was decisive in her taking up translation and
interpretation studies".

Roughly 2,500 students from the 618 participating schools – which were
selected at random due to the high level of interest in the event –
will be asked to translate a short text from one official EU language
into another. Participants are free to choose whichever languages they
prefer. The number of schools each country is sending to the event is
directly proportional to the number of votes its government holds in
the European Council. France, Germany, Italy and the UK are each
sending pupils from 58 schools, while Malta is represented by six

"The contest is not only a great chance for young people to try out
their skills as translators, but experience from last year's contest
has shown that it also sparks more interest in language learning and
translation," said Multilingualism Commissioner Orban. "The first
contest, held in 2007, was in fact so popular that a second round was
due. This time, we wanted to give more schools a chance to participate
and doubled the number of schools to be selected," he added.  A panel
of Commission translators will select the winning entries. The list of
winners will be published on the 'Juvenes Translatores' website by the
end of January 2009, with the victors awarded prizes at a ceremony in
Brussels in the spring.

N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to
its members
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner
or sponsor of
the list as to the veracity of a message's contents. Members who
disagree with a
message are encouraged to post a rebuttal. (H. Schiffman, Moderator)

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list